Special Vietnamese class in Laos

Hundreds of students in Savannakhet province (Laos) have been taking Vietnamese lesson everyday under the instruction of teachers from Quang Tri province.

Hundreds of students in Savannakhet province (Laos) have been taking Vietnamese lesson everyday under the instruction of teachers from Quang Tri province.

Special Vietnamese class in Laos

Teacher Thanh Huyen in her class. source: VNE

Teacher Tran Thi Thanh Huyen just arrives at class 6 in the Laos-Vietnam Friendship secondary school in Kaysone Phomvihane city, Savannakhet province. All of the students immediately stand up to greet her: “Hi teacher!”. After placing the speaker on the desk, the 25-year-old lady from Vinh Linh district, Quang Tri province, asks her students to sit down.

The students who wear tidy school uniform (white shirt and black trousers) later open their music notebook. The teacher kicks start the lesson with the revision of the song “A gift for teacher”. In the joyful melody, all the students raise their voice, singing “We love our teacher very much, because she is both gentle and beautiful”.

The song “A gift for teacher” was taught to the students prior to the Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, with the purpose of increasing the students’ Vietnamese vocabulary while introducing to them the traditional day of the Vietnamese education, part of the understandings about homeland. (In Laos, the traditional teacher’s day comes one month earlier).

In her lesson, Huyen often included popular Vietnamese songs like “Teachers bring us spring”, “Chalk dust”,... The lessons Huyen gives to her students are also filled with music, and therefore are always been looked forward to.

Meanwhile, in a nearby primary school named Unification, teacher Dau Thi Le Hai (from Cam Lo district, Quang Tri province) are writting Vietnamese on the blackboard. Her students are trying to translate these sentences into Laotian language in their notebook.

Huyen and Hai are two among 10 volunteer teachers from Quang Tri province. They have spent three years teaching in Lao. Huyen teaches music, two others are kindergarten teachers, Hai and the other six teaches Vietnamese language in primary school and secondary school.

According to the teachers, Vietnamese students in Laos love learning Vietnamese very much. They also develop a close bonds with the teachers. In Laos, Vietnamese is taught as the second foreign language (after English). The training content followed the Vietnamese language programme for overseas Vietnamese by the Minister of Education and Training of Vietnam.

The students have 4 to 10 Vietnamese lessons per week. For students of grade 1 – 2, the number is 10, for those of grade 3-5, it is 8 and for students of grade six, the number is 6.

Since 2008, every year, the Department of Education and Training in Quang Tri province assigns 7 to 10 teachers to come to Savanakhet, based on a cooperation agreement signed between the Department of Education and Training and the Vietnamese Association in Savannakhet, approved by Quang Tri province.

Every summer, the Department informs the district on the recruitment of volunteer teachers to teach in Laos. The criteria includes: young teachers with high level of enthusiasm, not yet a civil servants, prioritize those graduate with distinction. “We select the best candidates via interview, to make sure the person can fulfill his/her mission, and therefore we can maintain good relations with the neighbor province”.

When summer ends, the Department assign a delegation to bring the team of teachers to Laos to begin their working tenure there. Each tenure lasts three year, the salary is provided by the Vietnamese Association in Savannakhet. After completing the 3-year mission, the teachers will be recruited as civil servant in the education sector in Quang Tri.

Special Vietnamese class in Laos

Unification Primary School. (source: VNE)

According to Tran Sai, Vice President of the Vietnamese Association in Savanakhet, there are around 750 Vietnamese Laotian households with 4,000 people in the province. Most of them are from families whose four or five generations have been residing in Laos. 75% of them are Lao nationals, therefore their children find difficult in communicating in Vietnamese.

With the desire of letting the young generation to learn Vietnamese from Vietnamese teachers, in order to stay closer to their roots, the Association has established four teaching centers in Savannakhet, teaching Vietnamese to both overseas Vietnamese and Laotian students, including: Lac Hong kindergarten, Unification primary school, Nguyen Trai primary school, and the Lao-Viet Friendship secondary school. Recently, in Kaysone Phomvihane city, a private school providing both elementary and preschool education named Hoang Oanh was opened.

In addition, in Kaysone Phomvihane city, the Association is building a teaching facilities which provide education for students from kindergarten to highschool with total investment of USD 2 million, jointly invested by Vietnam and Laos. The school will welcome its first batch of students in the school year 2019-2020.

The number of students in five facilities is nearly 900, while the number of teacher is 50, including 10 Vietnamese teachers, the other are Laotian and Vietnamese Laotian.

After many years of teaching Vietnamese in Laos, Khamphet Anothay, Vice Rector of the Unification primary school says, Laos is not short of teachers who can teach Vietnamese, however, learning Vietnamese from Vietnamese teacher is still the best choice. It will make the students love the language and culture of Vietnam more.

“After completing primary school and secondary school education, the students’ Vietnamese level is significantly improved. They can communicate in Vietnamese very well.”

Rector of Unification primary school, Suphan Xenviset, also spoke highly of the contribution of Vietnamese students in the province, who have helped the students speak better Vietnamese, and received positive feedback from their parents./.

( Translated by Phi Yen )

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